Warning: some morbid thoughts ahead.
Mary Oliver celebrates the nature of dogs in this little book of poetry, and to a lesser extent, the nature of our relationship with our pets. I have some fundamental disagreement with her views about keeping them unleashed and letting them roam free, though. Perhaps she’s never seen someone’s pet in the road with his guts smeared on the pavement, or walked through a city animal shelter full of half-starved strays, and had to choose just one, only one, to take home, or had to watch in horror from the sidewalk as a pack of coyotes snatched her small unleashed dog from the woods at the edge of a suburban park. Perhaps she hasn’t read the articles of grandmothers being mauled by packs of loose dogs while out on a walk. From her poems, it sounds as though she lives in an idealized, Mr. Rogers-esque small seaside town where all the loose dogs are friendly and have a loving home where they’re well-fed and there are no speeding cars.
Still, there are some gems to be found in her work, and Stubbs listened attentively while I read them to him. Bells was unimpressed, though, if her snoring could be interpreted as literary criticism.
I read this for Task the Fourth: The Gift Card square, in The Twelve Tasks for the Festive Season challenge: “Read a book that you either received as a gift or have given as a gift.” I received this book as a Christmas gift last year from my sister.